1. What is Philosophy? – Great Philosophers

In this course you will introduce yourself in philosophy, instead of being introduced. The aim is not that you learn interesting things about philosophy or philosophers, but that you start ‘doing philosophy’. The teachers provide necessary information and they ask questions to keep you on track. In short, they coach you. But, the real learning and teaching is done in your personal encounter with primary texts of Plato, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein and others, and in the philosophic dialogue about them with your fellow students and the teachers.

Leading questions in this first encounter with the best practices of great philosophers are: how to read a philosophical text? What ‘methods’ do philosophers propose? What, within different philosophical practices, are the roles of logic, criticism and argument, of creativity and imagination, of rhetoric and persuasion, of intuition and contemplation? What is the goal of philosophy, what is its scope, what are its limitations and … what’s the fun of it?

This course will take place in the third quartile of the first year. It will be given by René Munnik and Jan Hoogland. Every class on Wednesday is intended as a seminar for information, reading suggestions and study guidelines, and for discussion with the teacher. Classes on Monday (except the first one) are preparatory group sessions. An extensive study guide will be available at the beginning of the course.

René Munnik graduated in chemistry (1974), theology (1980), and philosophy (1982). In 1987 he defended his PhD thesis on the metaphysics of the mathematician-philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, entitled De wereld als creatieve voortgang – De ontwikkeling van een totaliteitsgedachte bij A.N. Whitehead.

Since 1987 he teaches philosophy – especially metaphysics, philosophy of science for the humanities, philosophy of culture, and philosophy of religion – at the universities of Nijmegen, Tilburg and Twente. At the moment he is associate professor at Tilburg School of Theology (Tilburg/Utrecht) and he holds the (endowed) Thomas More chair in philosophy at the University of Twente.

After his doctorate, most of his research was devoted to epistemological questions regarding the relationship of natural sciences and the humanities. At the moment, his academic interests concern philosophy of technology and technological mediation, which resulted in his most recent Dutch book –Tijdmachines. Over de technische onderwerping van vergankelijkheid en duur (Klement, 2013).

Jan Hoogland (1959) studied Sociology (bach.) and Philosophy in Rotterdam (Erasmus University). In 1992 he defended his PhD thesis on the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno and his view on the role of metaphysics in modern philosophy: Autonomie en antinomie. Adorno’s ambivalente verhouding tot de metafysica (Autonomy and antinomy. Adorno’s ambivalent relationship to metaphysics) (cum laude). Since 1997 he is holder of the Chair of Christian Philosophy at the University of Twente.

Hoogland has published some books and many articles in books, journals and magazins. Last year he published with Jochem Quartel Levenskunst voor iedereen. With three colleagues he wrote Denken, ontwerpen, maken. Basisboek techniekfilosofie (2007), which recently is published in English: Philosophy of technology. An introduction for technology and business students.

Beside his special chair at the University of Twente, Jan Hoogland is professor in ‘Formative Education’ at Viaa University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle and assistant professor in Public Administration at VU University in Amsterdam.